The latest craze amongst older children or teens this year is the Hoverboard/Segway/Swegway*, I'm so not 'down with the kids' I don't even know the proper name for them! Anyway these gadgets are self-balancing scooters, powered by electric. They are on most teens Christmas list this year and are already huge amongst Celebrities. But are you aware that by using them on roads or pavements you are breaking the law?
They are ok to be used in the garden or in your driveway but once they have been taken out onto public roads or pavements they become illegal. This is due to the speeds of up to 12mph that these boards can reach, therefore under current legislation they are subject to road traffic laws. The Department of Transport says:
You can only ride an unregistered self-balancing scooter on land which is private property and with the landowner’s permission. The Department for Transport would advise that appropriate safety clothing should be worn at all times.
The Department for Transport recognises these ‘Segway Personal Transporter’s as motor vehicles, to ride them on the road would need them registered and displaying a valid tax disc. And not only that you will need a driving licence and motor insurance to ride it on the road! This sounds completely crazy to me as these boards are aimed at teenagers, presumably who are under the minimum age which is legal to drive!
The Department for Transports view is that the Segway Personal Transporter is a motor vehicle. The Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 (VERA) states that every mechanically propelled vehicle used or kept on a public road should be registered and licensed. As self-balancing scooters are mechanically propelled they require registration and a vehicle registration licence (tax disc). Additionally, the user would need a driving licence and motor insurance. Other legal requirements relate to construction and use, and to lighting.
Like many teens, Brooklyn Beckham has been keen to show off his new Segway on social media without realising the implications. He has shown his millions of followers on Instagram how he has been riding his board on the pavement, seemingly unintentionally breaking the law. As he is only 16 he is too young for a driving licence, I doubt for one second that he will be in trouble for this though!
This may or may not influence your decision to buy one of these boards this Christmas, either way it is food for thought and up to you if you want to take heed or not. So has this changed your decision to buy your child one this Christmas, please let us know, we would love to hear your comments on our FaceBook page.